The-Importance-of-Family-Friendly-Benefits-in-the-Workplace

The Importance of Family-Friendly Benefits in the Workplace

06/18/2024 Written by: AP Employee Benefits

Family-friendly benefits in the workplace are becoming more and more important to workers today, and when designed properly, can help businesses attract and retain top talent, improve employee satisfaction, and reduce absenteeism. These benefits may have been overlooked in the past; however, for today's job market, they have risen to the top of the benefits priorities list for employees.

What are family-friendly benefits?

According to the Reward and Employee Benefits Association (REBA), "family-friendly benefits support employees through all life stages in integrating and balancing work and family responsibilities." This definition supports employers as they continue in their efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive workplace. While the meaning of "family-friendly benefits" may change as the employee moves through life stages, these benefits can include support for parents, such as family planning and fertility support, mental health resources, and access to specialty care. Caregiving support, leave policies, adoption/foster support, and childcare resources are often included in the broader definition of family-friendly benefits.

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Some examples of the most sought after family-friendly benefits include:

  • Parental Leave, Paid Time Off, and Flexible Scheduling
  • Childcare Assistance
  • Family Planning
  • Professional Life Coaching

Parental Leave, Paid Time Off, and Flexible Scheduling

Employers and employees alike are more attuned to the need for parental leave, paid time off, and flexible schedule. While Paid Family Medical Leave policies are being adopted by more and more states across the country, organizational paid parental leave policies still plays a major role as parents look to replace income while also adjusting to life with a newborn. Ensuring that your company's paid parental leave policies are both compliant with any state-mandated leave policies while also being competitive in market and inclusive of all parenting scenarios, such as adoption or fostering. Employers may also consider employer-paid or voluntary short term disability policies in addition to paid parental leave to provide further income protection to new mothers following the birth of their child.

According to a recent article from SHRM, at the end of 2023, 67 percent of employers provided complete or partial scheduling flexibility – a perk that may appeal to many working parents. Some even eliminated the 9-to-5 routine, replacing it with hours determined by employees and managers. As the demand for flexible work arrangements from today's labor market grows, employers are left to get creative with how they balance meeting those demands with the goals of their business. This shift from a linear to a non-linear workday can have both its benefits and its challenges. In order to have a successful work environment that satisfies the needs of both the employee and the employer, it is important for employees to have open conversations about their schedule with their managers, and for managers to be open, receptive and respectful of these employee requests.

Childcare Assistance

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many working parents have recognized the increased need for additional childcare support. According to an article from the Harvard Business Review, one third of the U.S. workforce, or an estimated 50 million workers, has a child under 14 in their household. While the pandemic allowed many workers to transition to remote work arrangements, many organizations have begun their transitions back into the office, leaving many working parents in a bind when it comes to finding affordable childcare. According to a recent report from Care.com, 20% of working parents are forced to reduce their hours or forgo their jobs entirely due to the lack of childcare available, resulting in both lost income for the family, as well as costly productivity losses and increased absenteeism and turnover for employers. In the same Harvard Business Review survey, 26% of female respondents became unemployed during the pandemic due to a lack of childcare. In addition, many of the credits and additional government funding for daycare centers have since been discontinued or significantly decreased, causing long waitlists and increased costs for these centers to continue operations, pricing many working families out of these affordable childcare options. By offering benefits such as a childcare marketplace, on-site or near-site daycare, and/or childcare concierge and navigation services, a significant burden can be removed from the employee.

Family Planning

Fertility and family planning benefits have also recently gained popularity among employees in the workplace. These benefits can play a vital role in overall workplace culture and significantly impact employee morale, satisfaction and productivity. These benefits can have a significant impact on both your male and female populations within your organization. These benefits can help an organization significantly reduce the additional costs associated with fertility and other hormonal treatments, leading to increased accessibility to these treatments for those who may not have been able to access them previously. According to a recent report from Reward and Employee Benefits Association, financial challenges are the most common roadblock to starting a family. In the US, the average cost of one IVF cycle is $21,600 while gestational surrogacy can cost $136,000, and private domestic adoptions can cost between $30,000 and $60,000. By removing some of the financial burden from employees, employers may see a positive impact on employee mental health, retention, and overall satisfaction due to the reduction of financial and healthcare navigation stressors. In addition, encouraging employees to seek care navigation support can ultimately lead to better care and healthier, less costly outcomes.

Professional Coaching

Professional coaching is a benefit of increasing interest amongst the younger generations in the workforce today. As generations from Gen Z to Millennials are trying to navigate several historic occurrences while also building careers and families, they are looking for additional support as they navigate significant life decisions both in their professional and personal lives. According to Nivati, some of the benefits of having professional coaching available to employees in the workplace include:

  • Reduced stressors from personal matters in the workplace
  • Increased levels of self-reliance and accountability to commitments
  • Increased financial security, awareness and capability to set financial goals
  • Improved communication and relationship management practices
  • Decreased healthcare expenses as a result of health coaching results

According to the Human Captial Institute, 51% of organizations who have implemented professional life coaching benefits for their employees have seen an increase both revenue and employee sentiment when compared to industry peers that did not. Professional life coaching can be a powerful and effective tool to provide employees an opportunity to thrive in the workplace. When employees feel valued and supported by their employer at home, they are far more likely to engage more, feel more motivated and productive and actively work to build a better culture and relationships with their coworkers.

By adopting benefits that are designed to meet the needs of working families today, employers can begin to see an increase in their overall employee retention and satisfaction rates. These benefits actively demonstrate the importance that an employer places on their employee's well-being outside of the workplace. By investing in these kinds of benefits, employees are far more likely to invest good energy back into their work product, and work on developing better workplace relationships. It is when an employee feels supported in all aspects of their life that they can truly come to appreciate their employer from more than a financial support perspective. To learn more about benefits that can significantly impact your employee population's families, reach out to your AssuredPartners team.

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